VIDEO: Kennedy Polamalu and Tom Bradley

Offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu talks about how the team spent the past week, how he hopes UCLA will handle playing in Kyle Field and the loudest stadium he’s ever coached in.


Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley talks about the run defense, what he looks for when watching tape and what he expects to face from Noel Mazzone.

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By the numbers countdown to kickoff: 8 days

Photo by Frank Perez/Correspondent

Photo by Frank Perez/Correspondent

Countdown the days to UCLA’s season-opener against Texas A&M with key stats facing the Bruins this year.

8TH IN THE PAC-12 IN RUSHING DEFENSE LAST YEAR

The Bruins were ranked eighth in the conference in rushing defense (198.5 yards allowed per game) last year with major losses to Stanford and Nebraska all due to the team’s inability to stop the run.

Stanford racked up 311 rushing yards against the Bruins while Nebraska, which finished the season with a losing 6-7 record, had 326 in the Foster Farms Bowl.

UCLA hopes that concentrating on run fits and proper technique, combined with a switch to a 4-3 formation will fix last year’s woes. So far, they’re encouraged by the results in practice.

Going against Kennedy Polamalu’s offense also helps the defense prepare to face Stanford’s powerful running game again this season.

“Practice now is much more physical,” defensive lineman Rick Wade said. “It’s much different, it’s completely different. So seeing the double teams, seeing the fullbacks, seeing the tight ends, it really does help us and I think it will translate into the season.”

Here’s a reminder of how the defense performed each game against the run.

ucla run defene with average

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UCLA practice links: Bruins debut new jerseys

UCLA's Eldridge Massington #82 during football practice at Spaulding Field on the UCLA campus Monday, April 21, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

UCLA’s Eldridge Massington #82 during football practice at Spaulding Field on the UCLA campus Monday, April 21, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Main story from practice about the eight Bruins making homecomings in Texas next week.

Notebook about how the young specialists are growing together and new uniforms (!)

Part 2 of countdown to kickoff: 9 days

Video interviews with Jim Mora, Soso Jamabo, Ishmael Adams and Nate Iese

A few personnel notes from Thursday’s practice

  • Paco Perez, Audie Omotosho, Alex Van Dyke, Kahlil Muhammad, Marcus Moore, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and Adams worked out on the sideline. Dymond Lee joined them after warming up.
  • Deon Hollins (concussion) experienced a set-back yesterday at practice.
  • Austin Roberts has been gone for a few days with a concussion as well. Mora is hoping to get him back Monday.
  • Kenny Lacy (knee) and Takkarist McKinley (groin) was on the field today.
  • Still no Cameron Griffin.
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Video: Jim Mora, Soso Jamabo, Ishmael Adams, Nate Iese

Head coach Jim Mora talks about the running back competition, playing in College Station and Texas A&M.


Running back Soso Jamabo talks about going back to Texas, competing with the other running backs and working with running backs coach/offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu.


Receiver Ishmael Adams talks about how comfort level at his new position, what his pitch for the No. 1 jersey would be and what the new game jerseys are like.


Tight end Nate Iese talks about refining his catching ability, working with the other tight ends and developing as a blocker.

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By the numbers countdown to kickoff: 9 days

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Eddie Vanderdoes (47) talks with Kenny Young (42) at practice. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Countdown the days to UCLA’s season-opener against Texas A&M with key stats facing the Bruins this year.

10 receiving touchdowns scored by Thomas Duarte last year, which led the team

9 RETURNING STARTERS ON DEFENSE

UCLA sent two big stars on defense to the NFL, but the Bruins are set to reload quickly with nine returning starters.

Eddie Vanderdoes replaces first-round pick Kenny Clark in the starting lineup after a season-ending knee injury last year. Vanderdoes had never missed a game in his college career prior to his injury and made 19 combined starts during his first two years with the Bruins.

Cameron Judge is set to take a starting outside linebacker role opposite Jayon Brown. Judge, a senior, played in 12 games last season and made one start while Myles Jack left school early to prepare for the NFL Draft and recover from a meniscus injury.

Deon Hollins started 12 games last season as an outside linebacker in UCLA’s 3-4 front, but with the team’s switch to a 4-3, defensive end Matt Dickerson worked mostly with the No. 1 unit during training camp. Dickerson played in every game last year and made one start, against Washington State.

The Bruins could have 10 (or possibly 11) upperclassmen starting on defense:

  • Defensive line: Takkarist McKinley (Sr.), Eli Ankou (R-Sr.), Vanderdoes (R-Jr.), Dickerson (Jr.)
  • Linebackers: Brown (Sr.), Kenny Young (Jr.) or Isaako Savaiinaea (Sr.), Judge (Sr.)
  • Defensive backs: Fabian Moreau (Sr.), Randall Goforth (R-Sr.), Jaleel Wadood (Jr.), Marcus Rios (R-Sr.) or Nate Meadors (So.)

The group’s experience is “golden,” Vanderdoes said.

“That’s the biggest asset we have right now,” he continued. “We’ve been through everything. … We’ve experienced big losses, small losses, everything, so I don’t think anything can faze us at this point. We’ve seen it all, we’ve experienced it all. We know what it’s like.”

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